Difficult Issues

Two other EP posts today have me thinking about this issue. One is from a lady in Wilmington, Delaware about the killings in the New Castle County Courthouse yesterday. She raises the interesting question of how you identify a "responsible gun owner" and how do you rest assured that the "responsible gun owner" will not become irresponsible and kill an innocent victim. The other post is from someone who claims to have used a gun to prevent what he perceived was likely to become a tragedy.

The number of people who truly need a gun, as distinguished from those who want guns, is very small. While there is always annecdotal evidence of the "citizen with a gun" who prevents some greater harm, I have no doubt that, on a net basis across the entire nation, many more innocent people are killed each year than "bad guys." In short, there would seem to be a very good case for limiting lawful access to firearms to legitimate (as opposed to self-appointed) law enforcement personnel and the military.

However, our nation's experience with declaring items as contraband has not been good. The ill-conceived "War on Drugs" illustrates the point. One has to wonder whether as much marijuana and cocaine would be imported into this country if doing so was not so profitable due to the goverment's efforts to create scarcity. While this is a difficult proposition to verify empirically, the risk that measures making lawful firearms scarce would substantially expand the blackmarket in guns is not a risk to be taken lightly.

There are those who contend that the government has no authority to impose any regulation on gun ownership. However, this position is very difficult to reconcile with the language of the Second Amendment, which speaks of the citizens' right to bear arms as part of a "well regulated militia." While I doubt that we will ever completely rid ourselves of irrational gun violence, I think that there is regulation which might cause market forces to minimize it.

Guns are qualitatively different from most other items. The sole purpose of a gun is to cause injury or death. There is nothing else that a gun can do. An unfired gun has a deterrent effect, when it does, only because it has the capability to injure or kill. Some of that injury and death may be beneficial as in the case of the hunter who culls deer from an over-populated area. However, the injuries and deaths caused by detrimental uses of guns create real costs which are borne by the families of the victims and/or by all of us as taxpayers. This is a cost created by the business of manufacturing and selling guns. It strikes me that some mechanism which imposed those costs on the gun manufacurers would have the effect of driving up the initial acquisition cost of guns which, in turn, would cause the market to allocate them less frequently and more selectively.
HStoner HStoner
51-55, M
4 Responses Feb 12, 2013

If we would take the time to control the psyco bad guys. you don't have to control guns.
We know who they are we just wait till they kill somebody with a gun, knife or a bomb, and then we cry about locking up everybody who left their gun case unlocked. I know you don't want to hear this but, guns don't kill people, people kill people.

When I read a "Gun Control" paper, I agree with all the reasons, why you would want less guns "out there". But I am a realist. All the measures that the gun control activists would like to see the government being to bear on gun owners, will only be effective in controlling the guns owned by citizens who respect and obey the law. It is mindlessness to think that criminals who don't respect any laws, and going to change as if by magic, and they will all somehow come to respect one law, the gun control law. Gun control junkies don't have any answer for this major snag. The just continue to ignore the fact that we have no way to control those who don't respect the law. Let's begin at the point of sale. Pass any legislation you want and you will definitely cut down on the guns the law abiding citizens will own. But crooks don't shop for guns in stores, duh! They don't shop in stores because in stores, guns cost money. Thieves don't buy guns, they steel guns. So once again, the laws just don't apply to the very ones you would like to control. But the gun activists will be out there again tomorrow, pretending that this little problem won't rain on their parade. All they want to do is pass a law. Doesn't matter if it won't work. Just pass the law anyway. It will fix everything. Just say it 3 times and that will make it true. This little snag is the same snag that works to create a wonderful black market for every single commodity that the government tries to control by passing a law.
Please say this 3 times: Laws only control those who obey the law."
All gun laws will do is catch some otherwise law abiding citizen, who never would have been a problem, and put him in jail beside the one-time weed smoker.
I just don't get how anyone seriously thinks gun control makes sense.

I'm not sure that I agree with you. If the supply of guns was limited and the cost driven up, I think that a large number of the gun fatalities would be avoided. We have to remember that there are a tremendous amount of guns available, and you can get a bad gun, but good enough to kill once, cheaply. I think that the best way to restrict guns to law-abiding gunowners is to make them scarce and expensive.

It is vey difficult to eliminate or limit the supply of guns. How would you do this? Did prohibition make alcohol scarce and expensive?

I do think someone has to take some responsibility for the irresponsible gun owners and black market buys of special assault weapons and all of that. I don't know what the answer is here and I do know how controversial the subject is but I have something to say on this and damn the consequences... I own a gun. It is fully registered and I am licensed to legally carry it. I know how to use it and practice with hubs at least 3x's a month I also have a psycho sister who had threatened to kill me since I was a little kid.

Hubs is a Master ranking Martial Artist. He is also a legal gun owner and carrier of one. A few years back a very good friend of his, also a high ranking MA person was beaten and left for dead by 6 cowardly thugs who just didn't like a guy who could do what the MA guy could... This isn't an isolated incident. Cowards love to gang up and target MA guys...
All of our MA instructors also carry a legal concealed

There will always be psychos around and cowardly ******** who travel in packs. Some of them are darn dangerous and pose a real threat. I will be very honest and say.....If I couldn't own my gun legally I would keep it in another way but I would in fact keep it and use it if need be. I wouldn't mind paying a higher fee or tax or whatever to be legal and honor the controls put in place but I have no plans of having my sister catch me by surprise or some dead beat with 10 other dead beats hurting my hubs.

People who need and want a gun will always have one. The war on drugs was an epic failure...The war on guns is equally doomed before it even begins. Requiring EVERYONE who buys a gun to be taught how to use, clean and store it might help... I don't know...I just needed to get this off my chest and offer a different perspective.

Its only through my friends in the US that I have any idea about how contentious this issue is (i recently was blocked - just for politely discussing it). I'm glad the UK is in a different position

In the 18th and 19th Centuries, as people were settling this vast space we call the US, a gun undoubtedly was a necessity for many who were out of reach of any assistance and who needed to hunt for survival and/or to protect crops and cattle. That is not the current reality for the vast majority of Americans, but the imagery and mythology persists.

Its has been a shock and a learning curve how strong the sentiments run on this topic, it feels like there is a huge divide in your society.... when a similar incident happened in a school in scotland the movement from british people to ban hand gun was hugely supported. Until i came on EP I'd never even met anyone who had a gun!

Yes, it is a bit difficult for people outside the US (and more than a few of us in it) to understand the very strong psychological attachment which many of my countrymen have to firearms.

I think people see it as a civil rights issue..... and the alienation seems to run deep....but as for me, I dont understand it at all. We all walk around safely without firearms (well as much as anywhere)

It is perceived as a rights issue. Whether you can classify it as a civil right, I don't know. It isn't legitimately a safety issue. Unless you have the skill and training to use a gun in a high stress situation, introducing a gun into the situation increases rather than mitigates your danger.

The attachment Mr. Stoner is quite simply that through the constitution we the public have the right to bear arms in order to protect ourselves from violent people whether they be civilian or military or governmental. Yes Katarina the emotions on this subject run deep. So deep in fact that our president has returned is to the same place we were one hundred fifty years ago, staring down the barrel of a civil war. Anyone who sees the comment as overstated either is a fool or has no concept of reality. Most Americans feel we have faught too hard and too long to give our rights away just because an uncaring politician wants to turn a tragedy into a soapbox for political gain. Shame on politicians that spit on the graves of innocent children in such a cowardly way!

Unfortunately for your argument, the United States Constitution says no such thing. What it does say is that citizens have the right to bear arms as part of a "well regulated militia." Nowhere does it say anything that can rationally be read as a right to carry or use guns against people, militaries, or governments who you, in your personal judgment, deem violent or otherwise unworthy.

Apparently you have a difficult time understanding the word militia. It is NOT a federal organization nor was this word used without thought. A militia is comprised of civilian citizens with the goal being LOCAL defense from those that would do harm to the citizens of that area. As far as "unworthy" is concerned, I have never said anything about the unworthy. Only the violent and by definition the violent are "worthy" of a militias actions. Agree or disagree. It doesn't change the fact that this country WILL have civil war if federal legislation attempts to end this right.

but they are not even suggesting banning guns.... least as far as i can tell, just certain types.... like assault rifles.....

There is no difference as far as firing rate between a semi-automatic hunting rifle and a semi-automatic assault rifle. They are essentially interchangeable. The only difference being an assault rifle is easier to break down and clean and that it looks like a military rifle so it looks scary.

That is part of the problem here. Politicians are attempting to create legislation that isn't effective in the least but it gives the appearance of actually doing something good.

Well i guess then it wont really matter if you lose one and not the other. Sad and futile.

"War" against the lawful government is also known as treason and is a capital offense.

Indeed, no one is seriously proposing a complete ban on guns and I argued in the primary post that doing so might well result in guns becoming more rather than less available. Some of the posts above illustrate the irrationality that surrounds this subject.

That is my point. However, the FEDERAL government has no place creating such laws to begin with.

Thank you captain obvious. Lol. How does that contribute to the conversation we are having?

The issue is that this is supposed to be an issue governed by the individual states. Like I said, the same issue that started our civil war.

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